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Director Mirai Konishi reveals intention for sake documentary- “a film that will make you want to drink”


©2015 TIFF

KAMPAI! FOR THE LOVE OF SAKE, a documentary about 3 men highly attracted by the world of Japanese alcoholic drink sake, was screened on October 25 during the 28th Tokyo International Film Festival in the Panorama section. Director Mirai Konishi and one of the central characters, and 5th generation sake brewer Kosuke Kuji from Iwate Prefecture’s “Nanbu Bijin” brewery attended the TOHO CINEMAS Roppongi Hills for a teach-in.

Konishi, who is also a film journalist involved in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, made his debut as a full length movie director with this film. It captures the charm of sake by closely following 3 characters, starting with Kuji, trying to help disaster recovery efforts (after the Great East Japan Earthquake struck in March 2011) by telling the rest of the world how wonderful sake is, and also non-Japanese sake brewer Phillip Harper, continuing the tradition of sake brewing in The Kinoshita Brewery, and John Gauntner, resident of Kamakura City in Kanagawa Prefecture, who has gained attention as “The Sake Evangelist” amongst American journalists.

You could see the emotion in Konishi’s face as he spoke on the occasion of the films screening at the film festival. “I have not seen the final version, and I have not even thought about what will happen from here. Standing here in front of you all, I still can’t believe that it’s real.” Kuji added that he was surprised- “I had never imagined that I would be in a movie like this. The Sake Export Association was formed in ‘97, and I talk on behalf of the association about its history. There is no doubt that the world loves sake. We are trying to come up with a way for sake brewers to respond to its love”, he said, showing renewed determination.

Konishi also revealed that “a lot of people were involved, including Kuji, but it wasn’t all fun, there were some times when we got a bit lost. Even during these times, we would always tell ourselves, let’s make a movie that will make people want to drink sake after they have finished watching.” Lastly, Kuji spoke happily of how “although for a long time there were some strong head winds and sake was having a tough time, there are now 3 films in the world about sake, including this one.” He also made an appeal to the participants, saying “No matter how much sake people drink over the world, it is important that Japan is its holy land. Everyone here today are ‘drinking representatives’ of the holy land. Please enjoy this era of mouth-watering sake, and tell people around you about it. That is what I ask.”

KAMPAI! FOR THE LOVE OF SAKE will be released in the spring of 2016.

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KEIRIN.JPThe 28th Tokyo International Film Festival will be held with funds provided by Japan Keirin Association.TIFF History
27th Tokyo International Film Festival(2014)